Postcard From the Margins: Why You’ll Love the Loft…

Do Ho Suh Some/One 2005 Stainless steel, military dog tags, fiberglass resin The John R. Van Derlip Fund and gift of funds from the Sit Investment Associates Foundation 2012.77a-d
Do Ho Suh
Some/One
2005
Stainless steel, military dog tags, fiberglass resin
The John R. Van Derlip Fund and gift of funds from the Sit Investment Associates Foundation 2012.77a-d

…when you take “The Hero’s Sacred Journey,” Thursday, May 8th, 5:30-8:30pm at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts (MIA, 2400 3rd Ave S, Minneapolis).  The event is FREE, there’s a bar, and our very own MN Book Award-winning poet Matt Rasmussen will be there! And if that’s not enough, here are ten more reasons to spend the evening of May 8th with The Loft, the MIA, words, art and a host of fellow heroes:

1.  Because you’ll go home with amazing new story ideas.  Here’s the premise of the evening:  For decades, writers have used Joseph Campbell’s idea of the Hero’s Journey to structure their storytelling.  This journey “describes the typical adventure of the archetype known as The Hero, the person who goes out and achieves great deeds on behalf of the group, tribe, or civilization.”  Come to the MIA on Thursday, May 8th, somewhere in the vicinity of 5:30pm.  Pick up a piece of origami paper, visit the Sacred exhibits in the order we tell you, record (on the origami paper) your answers to the writing cues we give you–and trust me, you will end up with story ideas coming out of your head (and other peoples’ heads! See below).  Because, really, isn’t it kinda true that…

2. Your own personal Hero is (or your recent attempts to create a dynamic new protagonist are) distressingly mired in the every day?  Bogged down in crappy weather, taking kids to soccer practice in crappy weather; watching soccer games in crappy weather? Did I mention crappy weather?  NOT TO WORRY!  All heroes start out in the ordinary world.  The question for you is…

3.  Will you heed the call? The call to adventure!  The call that shakes up the Hero’s situation, puts him on the path to leave that ordinary world behind and enter a world of change. Or…

4.  Will you refuse the call?  That’s where the bar comes in.  Sure, refuse the call for a bit, have a drink, unwind, and then face it:  only cowards refuse the call, folks.  So you WILL answer the call, and travel first to the…

5. Sacred/Garments room.  Here you will meet your mentors, seasoned travelers who provide training and advice.  Your writing task here is to physically describe your Hero.  No more than five words of physical description of a main character:  be inspired by the beautiful garments in the Garments room, or by that natty bowler hat another participant is wearing, or by something just awoken by the gin in your G&T.  Who cares?  Just find those five words, and write them on your origami paper.  Then cross the threshold to the…

6.  Sacred/Journey Room.  In this room (my room!) you will surround yourself with images, sculpture, books, mixed media representations of the journey-maker. How will your journey be inspired by The Walking Buddha, by labyrinths, by the words to the hymn “Just a Closer Walk With Thee?”  Your writing task in this room is simple:  two sentences to describe the place where a big decision in your life happened. My twist?  Try not to use any adjectives.  (Think about it.  Color words, e.g., blue, tan, gray, might be allowed.) Write these boldly, concretely descriptive sentences on your origami paper. Now you’ve got a physical description of your Hero, and a place where s/he starts his/her adventure.  You’re well on your way to a great new story!  Keep going to the…

7.  Sacred/Profane Room, where our very own MN Book Award poet, Matt Rasmussen will offer writing prompts to help you imagine heroic actions both sacred and profane.  Now your Hero (and your origami paper) has a look, a place, and an action.  Send him/her on to the…

8.  Sacred/Devotion Room, where you will be directed, in yet another writing activity, to assign your Hero a challenge;  then on to the Sacred/Death Room, where my co-teacing artist  (for our upcoming Loft class, “What We Write About When We Write About the Sacred“) Martin Connell will help you discover your Hero’s greatest fear.  Is it death?  And in the face of death or another fear, what new life or strength is revealed?  Your origami sheet is filled with notes, as you return to the…

9. Sacred/Practice Room (aka the bar)–this time not to imbibe (oh, all right, if you must) but also to create a beautiful origami figure with your note-laden origami paper.  Aki Shibata is here to assist ham-handed and dexterous alike in this ancient art of paper folding.  And now comes the best part:  Bring your writing prompt-filled origami creation to the Sacred/Music Room…

10.  Drop it off and pick another one up.  Yes, you read that correctly:  you give your origami’ed story ideas to “the pot” and randomly pick out an origami someone else dropped off.  You end up not only with a unique origami figure of someone else’s making but a fabulously foreign set of bones (character, setting, action, challenge, fear) on which to flesh out your next best story.  For the faint of heart, you may, of course, keep your own counsel (and your own ideas.) And, of course, the timid are not likely to share their nascent tales at the open mic, later in the evening.  But will you? It’s a hero’s journey, right?

BE A HERO, MAKE A HERO, SHARE A HERO, FIND A STORY.  Loft and MIA together for “The Hero’s Sacred Journey,” Thursday May 8 5:30-8:30 at the MIA.  See you there!

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